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The Pregnant Widow (Vintage International) Paperback – May 3, 2011
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Initially, Mart uses these characters to write a hilarious parody of "The English Novel", with the innocent Keith infatuated with the beautiful Scheherazade, as he works his way through PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, VANITY FAIR, JANE EYRE, and so on. Not only does this portion of TPW address the complications of courtship and codes of behavior, as do the classic novels that Keith reads; but the castle where Mart sets the story has rich widows, wealthy but imperfect male suitors, orphans, and other elements of this genre. Altogether, the comedy in this section of TPW is absolutely first rate, while reaching its high point in the terrific chapter "The Waiting".
But then, Keith has a sudden and unexpected sexual encounter that "rearranges his feelings." At this point, Keith's life stops feeling like an "English Novel." Initially, he finds that Kafka's "Metamorphosis" captures his guilty reaction to change. But soon, Keith inhabits a carnal mindset, where Mart identifies the genre as a "pornotheological farce". Once again, Amis is hilarious, although his subject has shifted from sensitive pursuit to hapless predation.
In TPW, Amis follows Keith from innocence to carnality to thoughtful maturity, where he has fathered four children and had three wives. While Keith's adventures in romance and carnality are hilarious, he is also a personality that Amis uses to explore the sexual revolution and its effect on women.Read more ›
I want to state emphatically that this is not a misogynist novel. Keith starts out as an insensitive lout but the author telling the story is full of empathy for his woman. Women bore the burden of recovering a respectable place for sexuality in human relations after the chaos of the seventies, and there was no Mr. Knightly to show the way. The author states this explicitly:
"It was already obvious that every hard and demanding adaptation would be falling to the girls. Not to the boys--who were all like that anyway. The boys could just go on being boys. It was the girls who had to choose. And ingenuousness was probably over. Maybe, in this new age, girls needed designs."
Girls who embraced the prevailing seventies lie about sexual liberation (Rita and Violet) did not come out all right in the end.Read more ›
Mr. Knight is a younger man than I. The poignancy of Renoir, longing for a mythic past at a time when his brushes had to be taped into hands deformed by rheumatoid arthritis, took my breath. A return visit last week was just as arresting.
Martin Amis sets a gauzy remembrance in the swinging seventies, Italy with eternal sunshine and possibilities. Amis's triumph seems greater than Renoir's. The relentless humor of his narrator Keith breaks through the idyll, but the looming world he dubs Larkinland surely exposes an older man's longing for innocence, for justice and beauty, all torn in the drubbing of time.
Amis's peerless facility with language is always a delight.
"Now fade. Here is Keith, a towel round his waist. Here is Gloria, holding up a blue
dress as if assessing it for length. Then the look she gives him just before she turns.
As if he has come to deliver the pizza or drain the swimming pool. Then the physical
interchange - `the act by which love would be transmitted', as one observer put it,
`if there were any'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the first Amis book that I can quibble with, just a little. I understand that the narrative is slow-moving (to say the least), as seduction itself, as a process, often is. Read morePublished 6 months ago by angela oaks
Martin Amis (MA) confronts himself and his readers with a book that took him seven years to write, rewrite and complete. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Alfred J. Kwak
Martin Amis has a way with words,he likes them to spin and fizz with satire and vitriolic humour.He’s essentially a writer for a post-Christian secularist age,who dislikes what... Read morePublished 17 months ago by technoguy
Oh, time, you destroyer of all things. We - - those of us who follow tennis - - watch the sunset of Roger Federer's career with mounting sadness, but at the same time, fervent and... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Joseph Barbarie
A lovely story told on at least two levels: youth, summer, sex, leisure, and luxury commingled with aging, wisdom, irony, limited-ness, the consolations of philosophy. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Amazon Customer
Amis gets a little carried away with his own importance in this. His waxing lyrical about getting old at the end kind of spoilt it. Too many characters to keep track of. Read morePublished 24 months ago by bridgetstella
The protagonist is a student of English literature who, for the majority of is book, reads classic novels in which, although there is an undercurrent of sexuality, sex rarely or... Read morePublished on December 11, 2013 by Geoff, OR
Well written account of why the baby boomer generation is the way it is. Especially enjoyed his explanation of mother-daughter and father-daughter relationships.Published on November 8, 2012 by Tommy
I had very high expectations for this book, for some reason. Honestly, I have no clue why; I'd never written Amis before, his last few books had received lackluster reviews, and I... Read morePublished on December 31, 2011 by Book Dork